KARACHI: Despite no firm promise of support from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), the country’s wrestling governing body (PWF) is determined to hold a camp for the forthcoming major events from February 1 at Lahore.
“Punjab Games are slated to be held from January 24-27 and after that we will immediately hold a camp at Lahore from February 1,” PWF vice-president Arshad Sattar told ‘The News’ on Thursday.
He said that the PWF had written to the PSB for the camp but the Board had not yet given them any response.
“The Board has not responded yet. We had sent them the list of the camp probables early last month and had also requested them to hold our camp as soon as possible but so far nothing concrete has been received,” Arshad said. “Whatever the situation — whether we get state’s assistance or not — we will on our own go for holding the camp and ensure our wrestlers train well for major assignments this year,” said Arshad, a former PWF secretary.
He said the PWF had also contacted Punjab government for support but it was told that after the Punjab Games they would look into it. “Let’s hope for the best,” he said.
“Punjab government had backed us for Inam’s participation in the World Beach Wrestling Series last year. We will keep in touch with the Sports Board Punjab (SBP). It might help the federation in training and preparations. And if nothing happened then we aim to generate some money to ensure our wrestlers don’t face any issues in training,” Arshad said.
He said that 30 wrestlers will be invited for the camp. National grapplers have a lot of activities ahead. From April 19-24, Mongolia will host Asian Championship. From July 28 to August 8 Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham.
Then from August 14-17, Islamic Games are scheduled in Koniya, Turkey. From September 10-18, Serbia will host the World Championships.
It will be followed by the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, from September 10-25.
Arshad said that they would definitely field grapplers in the Asian Championships. “It’s a very important event and we will definitely send wrestlers to it,” the official said.
Arshad also said that Kazakhstan Wrestling Federation (KWF) had assured PWF that they would extend support to their wrestlers for training.
“We had requested KWF, as their president is also the president of Asian Wrestling Federation (AWF), to assist us for a three-month training camp. They have agreed and promised that we would be given free of cost accommodation. We will purchase our tickets and will send the wrestlers there for training. If the Asian Championship goes ahead as per schedule in April we will send wrestlers to Kazakhstan after the continental event,” Arshad said.
“It would be a huge opportunity for our wrestlers if they were trained there for the Commonwealth Games as we want to maintain our image in these Games where we have always given our best. Our wrestlers will also train with Kazakhstan’s best clubs. That will help us a lot,” Arshad said.
He said that one wrestler would be sent to Serbia for the global event. The PWF finalised camp probables from the national event held in Lahore recently.
Asked about the professional league, Arshad said they had signed a ten-year deal with Strawberry Sports Management but so far they have not taken any step towards holding the first edition of the league.
“We will now write a letter to them and will request them to hold the first professional league. We hope the event will be held,” Arshad said.